Columbus at LA Preview: Kings Players on Rick Nash

Forty games into the season the Kings were supposed to be near the top of the Western Conference. They entered the season with high expectations after a return to the playoffs last year and were thought to be a much better team than the Blue Jackets – who most predicted would be near the bottom of the standings.

Instead, LA enters the game tonight in 12th place, just two points ahead of the Blue Jackets.

The Kings have the third best goal differential in the West (+17), while the Jackets have the second worst (-21). Yet another argument that suggests all the stats in the world mean little compared to the only thing that really matters – wins and losses.

At the 2002 NHL Entry Draft Columbus selected Rick Nash first overall. After his rookie season in the league he was one of three finalists for the Calder Trophy. The following year he had a career-high 41 goals, tying him with Jarome Iginla and Ilya Kovalchuk for the Rocket Richard Trophy as league goal-scoring champion.

Thinking they could build the franchise around him, they made him captain and in 2009 signed him to a eight-year contract extension. That hasn’t stopped the trade rumors though. A coaching changes and multiple roster moves haven’t seemed to help much, so questions continue to arise about the possibility of the 6’4″ right wing being sent to another team.

For now, he’s still with the Blue Jackets. In 27 career games vs. the Kings he has 21 points and his 12 goals are the fewest against any Pacific Division team.

He’s a player several Kings know fairly well. Ryan Smyth played with him on the Canadian team at the 2005 World Championships. He won a gold medal with Drew Doughty and Team Canada at last year’s Winter Olympics. And Brad Richardson played against him quite a bit growing up.

Here are some thoughts from several Kings’ players on Nash, the Blue Jackets biggest offensive threat…

Jarret StollYou have to play him hard. You can’t give him too much time and space. You need to be physical on him and you can’t respect him too much. Obviously, you have to respect him a little bit. But, if you respect good players too much, by the end of the night they’ll have three points.

Brad RichardsonI’ve played against him since even we were in minor hockey, way back. Obviously, he’s a very talented player and has been for a long time in this league. So, he’s a guy we have to key on and finish our checks on every chance we get.

Jack JohnsonHe’s a great player. There’s no question about it. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s fast, he’s skilled – he’s one of the best forwards in the world. So, it will be a fun time and you have to keep to your eye on him.

In the only other meeting between the two teams this season the Blue Jackets beat the Kings 5-3 at Staples Center.  Nash had two goals that night, including at empty netter in the final minute of play.  It was LA’s first home loss of the season, after winning their first eight.

Seems like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it?

The Mayor
www.twitter.com/MayorNHL
www.facebook.com/MayorsManor

RELATED ARTICLES:

How Can the Kings Get Back on Track? – exclusive players comments on what’s needed

Interview with Ethan Moreau – former Oilers captain, now with the Blue Jackets

Predictions for the 2010-11 NHL Season – thoughts from the Mayor

.

Recent Articles

NHL Radio Replay: Hoven on Kings MVP, Gaborik Injury, Sharks Rivalry

Follow @mayorNHL
//
Enjoy a free replay of John Hoven on NHL Network Radio, where he joined hosts Scott Laughlin and Jim ‘Boomer’ Gordon, to discuss the Kings and Sharks. Some of the topics touched on included: Jeff Carter, Anze Kopitar, Marian Gaborik, Nic Dowd, Alec Martinez, Jake Muzzin, Jonathan Quick, Peter Budaj, roster moves, injuries, […]

NHL Radio Replay: Hoven, Davis, Bernstein, Pagnotta after Kings-Ducks

Follow @mayorNHL
//
Enjoy a free replay of John Hoven and Jonathan Davis on NHL Network Radio following the Kings-Ducks game in Anaheim, where they were joined by Dennis Bernstein and Dave Pagnotta of The Fourth Period magazine, as well as actor Michael Rosenbaum, and a host of other special guests. Some of the topics discussed […]

Kings – Pacific Division Pretender Or Contender?

There’s an old adage in hockey that says you can’t win a division in the first month of the season, but you sure can lose it. Through the first 15 games of the 2016-17 season, the LA Kings may not be eliminated from Pacific Division contention, but the road to the title is going to be […]

Major News Items

LA Kings 2015-16 Prospect Rankings: No. 1 Revealed

We're finally ready to announce the name of which Los Angeles Kings prospect has nabbed the No. 1 spot in our bi-annual rankings of the team's future hopefuls. After working our way through a handful of Honorable … [Read More...]

More Prospect News